Obesity and Public Policy

The following is an interesting public policy article related to the obesity epidemic out of the Spring 2018 Politics and the Life Sciences journal. I agree that this problem does require a policy discussion while balancing individual liberty and autonomy. Where do you think the line should be drawn? Why?



The Remembrance of Christ (Excerpts from Spurgeon)

“This do in remembrance of me.”
—1 Cor. 11:24.

There could be no need for this loving exhortation, if there were not a fearful supposition that our memories might prove treacherous, and our remembrance superficial in its character, or changing in its nature.

Can it be possible? Yes it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault of all of us, that we can remember anything except Christ. It is the incessant round of world, world, world; the constant din of earth, earth, earth, that takes away the soul from Christ. While memory will preserve a poisoned weed, it suffereth the Rose of Sharon to wither.

We forget him because we carry about with us the old Adam of sin and death. But there is one whom they should embalm in their souls with the most costly spices—one who, above all other gifts of God, deserves to be had in perpetual remembrance. One I said, for I mean not an act, I mean not a deed; but it is a Person whose portrait I would frame in gold, and hang up in the state-room of the soul. It is Christ’s glorious person which ought to be the object of our remembrance.

How can we remember Christ’s person, when we never saw it? Though you do not know him after the flesh, you may know him after the spirit; in this manner you can remember Jesus as much now as Peter, or Paul, or John, or James, or any of those favoured ones who once trod in his footsteps, walked side by side with him, or laid their heads upon his bosom. Memory annihilates distance and over leapeth time, and can behold the Lord, though he be exalted in glory.

Remember him in his baptism…remember him in the wilderness…Further, I beseech you remember him in all his daily temptations and hourly trials, in that life-long struggle of his, through which he passed.

The benefits to be derived from a loving remembrance of Christ:
The Christian needs no argument to make him love Christ; just as a mother needs no argument to make her love her child. She does it because it is her nature to do so. The new-born creature must love Christ it cannot help it. Remembrance of Jesus will tend to give you hope when you are under the burden of your sins. Yes, I will tell thee drunkard, swearer, whatever thou hast been—I will tell thee that there is one, who for thee hath made a complete atonement; if thou only believest on him thou art safe for ever.

‘Now, for the love I bear his name,
What was my gain I count my loss,
I pour contempt on all my shame,
And nail my glory to his cross.’ ”

It tends to give us patience under persecution…It will give strength in temptation…But just to close up the advantages of remembering Christ, do you know where you will have the benefit most of all? Some one stands there weeping. Children are around the bed, and friends are there. See that man lying? That is yourself. What is it? Ah! one sigh! The soul is gone. The body is there. What did he see? He saw a flaming throne of judgment; he saw God upon it, with his sceptre; he saw books opened; he beheld the throne of God, and saw a messenger, with a sword brandished in the air to smite him low. But if thou canst remember Christ, shall I tell thee what thou wilt do? Oh! thou wilt smile in the midst of trouble. Let me picture such a man. They put pillows behind him; he sits up in bed, and takes the hand of the loved one, and says, “Farewell! weep not for me; the kind God shall wipe away all tears from every eye.”

A sweet aid to memory:
Our Saviour was wiser than all our teachers, and his remembrancers are true and real aids to memory. His love tokens have an unmistakeable language, and they sweetly win our attention. Behold the whole mystery of the sacred Eucharist. It is bread and wine which are lively emblems of the body and blood of Jesus. The power to excite remembrance consists in the appeal thus made to the senses. He must have no memory at all who cannot remember that he has eaten bread, and that he has been drinking wine. Note again, the mighty pregnancy of these signs—how full they are of meaning. Bread broken—so was your Saviour broken. Bread to be eaten—so his flesh is meat indeed. Wine poured out, the pressed juice of the grape—so was your Saviour crushed under the foot of divine justice: his blood is your sweetest wine. Wine to cheer your heart—so does the blood of Jesus. Wine to strengthen and invigorate you—so does the blood of the mighty sacrifice. Oh! make that bread and wine to your souls to-night a sweet and blessed help of remembrance of that dear Man who once on Calvary died.

I fear greatly that there are some of you who will eat the bread to-night, and will not think about Christ; some of you who will drink the wine, and not think of his blood: and vile hypocrites you will be while you do it. Take heed to yourselves, “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh—what?—“damnation to himself. If you cannot do it in remembrance of Christ, I beseech you, as you love your souls, do not do it at all.

A sweet command:
“This do in remembrance of me.” Christ watches you at the door. Some of you go home, and Christ says, “I thought I said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of me. If I had loved you no more than this, you would have been in hell: if that were the full extent of my affection, I should not have died for you. Great love bore great agonies; and is this all your gratitude to me?”

Remember thee, and all thy pains,
And all thy love to me—
Yes, while a pulse or breath remains,
I will remember thee.
And when these failing lips grow dumb,
And thought and memory flee;
When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me!”

“I Change Not” – Malachi 3:6 (Spurgeon Sermon Snippet)

“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”—Malachi. 3:6.

The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore

[H]e changes not in his essence. Man, especially as to his body, is always undergoing revolution. Very probably there is not a single particle in my body which was in it a few years ago. This frame has been worn away by activity, its atoms have been removed by friction, fresh particles of matter have in the mean time constantly accrued to my body, and so it has been replenished; but its substance is altered. The fabric of which this world is made is ever passing away; like a stream of water, drops are running away and others are following after, keeping the river still full, but always changing in its elements. But God is perpetually the same. He is not composed of any substance or material, but is spirit—pure, essential, and etherial spirit—and therefore he is immutable.

He changes not in his attributes. Take any one thing you can say of God now, and it may be said not only in the dark past, but in the bright future it shall always remain the same: “I am Jehovah, I change not.

God changes not in his plans. Why should he change? Ye worthless atoms of existence, ephemera of the day! ye creeping insects upon this bay-leaf of existence! ye may change your plans, but he shall never, never change his. Then has he told me that his plan is to save me? If so, I am safe.
“My name from the palms of his hands
. Eternity will not erase; Impress’d on his heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.” 

God is unchanging in his promises. Believer! there was a delightful promise which you had yesterday; and this morning when you turned to the Bible the promise was not sweet. Do you know why? Do you think the promise had changed? Ah, no! You changed; that is where the matter lies. You had been eating some of the grapes of Sodom, and your mouth was thereby put out of taste, and you could not detect the sweetness. But there was the same honey there, depend upon it, the same preciousness

To some of you God is unchanging in his threatenings. Talk of decrees! I will tell you of a decree: “He that believeth not shall be damned” That is a decree, and a statute that can never change. Be as good as you please, be as moral as you can, be as honest as you will, walk as uprightly as you may,—there stands the unchangeable threatening: “He that believeth not shall be damned.”

God is unchanging in the objects of his love—not only in his love, but in the objects of it. If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all; if one of the covenant ones be lost, so may all be, and then there is no gospel promise true; but the Bible is a lie, and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance

I could no more think of a changing God, than I could of a round square, or any other absurdity. The thing seems so contrary, that I am obliged, when once I say God, to include the idea of an unchanging being.  Now, if he is a perfect being, he cannot change. Do you not see this? The fact of his being an infinite being at once quashes the thought of his being a changeable being.

[T]he persons to whom this unchangeable God is a benefit: God’s elect are here meant by “the sons of Jacob,”—those whom he, foreknew and fore-ordained to everlasting salvation. [P]ersons who enjoy peculiar rights and titles. 

[T]hese “sons of Jacob” were men of peculiar manifestations: [For Jacob t]here was a ladder. Then what a manifestation there was at Mahanaim, when the angels of God met him; and again at Peniel, when he wrestled with God, and saw him face to face

[T]hey are men of peculiar trials: Never was man more tried than Jacob, all through the one sin of cheating his brother. All through his life God chastised him. But I believe there are many who can sympathize with dear old Jacob. You do not understand what troubles mean; you have hardly sipped the cup of trouble; you have only had a drop or two, but Jesus drunk the dregs

They are men of peculiar character: There was Jacob’s faith. Do you know what it is to walk by faith, to live by faith, to get your temporary food by faith, to live on spiritual manna—all by faith? Is faith the rule of your life? if so, you are the “sons of Jacob.” Jacob was a man of prayer. Sirs, mark you, if you are living without prayer, you are living without Christ.

[T]he benefit which these “sons of jacob” receive from an unchanging God: We might have been consumed in hell. But there is a way of being consumed in this world; there is such a thing as being condemned before you die—“condemned already;” there is such a thing as being alive, and yet being absolutely dead. We might have been left to our own devices; and then where should we have been now? Yes, I am here, unconsumed, because the Lord changes not. Oh! if he had changed, we should have been consumed in a dozen ways; if the Lord had changed, you and I should have been consumed by ourselves; for after all, Mr. Self is the worst enemy a Christian has.

John Newton used to tell a whimsical story, and laugh at it too, of a good woman who said, in order to prove the doctrine of Election, “Ah! sir, the Lord must have loved me before I was born, or else he would not have seen anything in me to love afterwards

Remember God is the same, whatever is removed. Your friends may be disaffected, your ministers may be taken away, every thing may change; but God does not. Your brethren may change and cast out your name as vile: but God will love you still. Let your station in life change, and your property be gone; let your whole life be shaken, and you become weak and sickly; let everything flee away—there is one place where change cannot put his finger; there is one name on which mutability can never be written; there is one heart which never can alter; that heart is God’s—that name Love.

Defending the Doctrines of Grace

Below is my response to a gentleman struggling with the doctrines of grace. Any constructive criticisms? Is there anyway I could have explained better? Any errors in my own understanding? Any way I could have come across more gracious?

His post:

I’m sort of at the stage where I’m “on the fence,” if you will. There are just a couple of things I wonder about. I don’t mean this as a “gotcha” moment, I am asking these questions sincerely and honestly.

1. The Bible says in more than one place God is not a respecter of persons, that is, he doesn’t make any distinctions between individuals (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11). If this is true, why does He only choose certain people for salvation?

2. The Bible says God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4). Why then does He not give salvation to everyone?

3. How do you respond to the Scriptures that indicate anyone can be saved (John 3:16, Romans 10:13, Acts 2:38, etc)?”
My Response:

1. This argument raises a false dichotomy. There is no contradiction here. We, as God’s fallen image bearers, are all sinful and deserving of hell right out of the gate. God’s election of particular individuals has absolutely NOTHING to do with anything in them, about them or anything they have done, according to Ephesian 2:8-9. It is God’s “free will” (the only being to actually have a will that is absolutely unconstrained by anything outside of himself) for His own good purpose which He alone has the right to do (Rom 9:21).

2. This is a distinction between God’s prescriptive will and His decretive will. An example explains it best. When God’s said “Let there be light”, was there any possibility that there would not be light? Of course not. This is a decree – God’s decretive will. When God says, “Thou shall not commit adultery”, is there any possibility that adultery will be committed? Of course there is. We see it all the time. This command is certainly God’s will but unless you believe God to be impotent to bring about His decrees than this cannot be speaking of His decretive will. God prescribes this behavior – prescriptive will. There is a difference between what God “desires” and what God “arranges”. God’s electing salvation MUST be prescriptive if we are to remain consistent with the clear and explicit teaching of scripture. I strongly recommend referring to Mat 7:13-14, 21; 22:14, Luke 13:22-27, Rom 9:27 and many others.

3. John 3:16 does NOT state explicitly or even imply that anyone CAN be saved. It simply and clearly states the truth that ANY who believe WILL be saved. It says nothing of who can (has the ability to) or who will (has the desire to) be saved. Many have eisegetically (pressed the presupposition into this text) interpreted it as indicating a meaning that is simply not there.

Rom 10:13, in much the same way, explicitly teaches that any who actually does call on the name of the Lord will be saved. It says nothing, explicit or implicit, about who will or who can. It simply states a fact of salvation, not a prescribed avenue.

In Acts 2:38 Peter is, as should we all be, telling all who will hear him the command of God – “REPENT”! Indeed if anyone does repent “in the name of Jesus Christ” (key phrase there) they will receive forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. It’s not about the words. Peter, by qualifying the command with “in the name of the Holy Spirit” leaves no room for the “come to the alter, pray a prayer, sign a card and your in” salvation. All are commanded. Not all who are commanded can or will repent and believe but only those to whom the gift that cannot be taken away is given (John 10:25-29).

I sincerely hope this helps and is received in the loving spirit with which it is intended.

Response to Headline: Franklin Graham Warns Christians To Keep Gays Away From Their Kids And Churches

imageIn the interest of full disclosure here at the outset, I did not read this story, just the headline, but truly hope Franklin is not saying what it seems on the surface. I did not take the time to read it because my concern relates specifically to the message Christians are, and have long been, sending with such headlines. Those aimed at, and their sympathizers, are likely not reading the content of the story either. Granted engaging the LGBTs is unsavory and possibly dangerous but any more so than many missions we as Christians are called to (Mat 28:19-20)? Did not Jesus come to “seek and save” the lost (Luke 19:10)? Should we not be willing to put ourselves in harms way, when necessary, for the cause of Christ and his kingdom (Mark 2:13-17)? Are these sinners any less image-bearers than the rest of us. Is their lifestyle any more a transgression of the law and an abomination in the sight of God than a heterosexual couple that is “shacking-up” (1Cor 6:9-11)? How much damage are we doing to the spread of the gospel among those most resistant and hardened if our headlines (even if misrepresenting the content) propagate the atrocity of representing Christ as a hater of sinners rather than the friend of sinners (Luke 7:34)? of which many “Christians” have long been guilty. What a fearful, hope-depriving state we are all in if the sin of the individual can be shown biblically to be beyond the grace and mercy of our Savior. Is it not God’s prerogative, not ours, to determine who is to be given over to his/her own sin (Rom 1:28). Praise be to God that he is not powerless to save the worst sinner and has decreed to do so (John 3:16, John 1:7, Rom 8:1). It remains our lot not to presume to know the heart of a person (Jer 17:10, Acts 15:8) but rather to plant the seed and wait on God for the increase (1Cor 3:6-7)! It is also clear that those who remain unrepentant and outside of Christ are and will be condemned (John 3:18-19) but that judgement is God’s (Rom 12:19), not ours. Believer, take care! Let us not unwittingly “stiff arm” those who may be as yet hidden trophies of God’s saving grace (Eph 2:4-7).

Source: Franklin Graham Warns Christians To Keep Gays Away From Their Kids And Churches